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My mother is an American and my father is a Chinese, is there a term for people with two racial backgrounds in English?

Update: Is "halfer" a good word for it? Is it kinda derogatory?

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    "Race" generally groups humans into a very short list of races (roughly 6, but there is disagreement). "Chinese" might be better viewed as an ethnicity or nationality. "American" is a nationality and a culture, but doesn't denote a particular ethnic or racial grouping. – wordsmythe Jul 7 '14 at 18:19
  • Is "halfer" a good word for it? Is it kinda derogatory? – user4457 Jul 11 '14 at 12:03
  • I haven't heard "halfer" before. Obviously, if you said it about yourself, people wouldn't take it as derogatory, but I would advise against saying it about other people. – hunter Oct 31 '14 at 14:40
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The term I'm familiar with is 'biracial.'

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    I agree. "Biracial" is the general adjective for someone with parents (or, I suppose, grandparents) of two races. "Multiethnic" might also be a useful term for user4457 to know, since it moves from "race," to a more granular concept of ethnicity, and it can denote more than two ethnicities in one's family, so someone can have a Chinese, a Korean, a Polish and a French grandparent. – wordsmythe Jul 7 '14 at 18:17
  • Great point, wordsmythe. – Obfuskater Jul 7 '14 at 18:20
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    Multiracial is also used. – snailcar Jul 8 '14 at 9:26
  • Is "halfer" a good word for it? Is it kinda derogatory? – user4457 Jul 11 '14 at 12:04
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    That sounds pretty solidly derogatory, @user4457. – wordsmythe Jul 11 '14 at 15:40
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Sometimes, if one of the two racial backgrounds goes back many generations (i.e., is considered to be more or less homogenous), we might self-identify as I'm half ~~~~~~. For instance, someone might want to describe themself as half-Chinese or half-Lithuanian. I use the latter for myself, because it is true. Half-American does not work, because American is not a race in this sense. But a lot of people might wish to refer to themself as (for example) half-Irish, half-Greek, half-Italian, half Japanese, half-Cherokee, etc. I am talking about people referring to themselves.

For someone to self-identify as half-something is usually a sign that they value that racial or genetic component of their background. In other words, it is a term that is used positively.

People can also refer to others as half-something, which may or may not be true, and may or may not be intended as a kind statement.

Cautian: We have the term half-breed, which also refers to someone who is considered (rightly or wrongly) to be half something. It is an offensive term, a racial slur, and pretty much no longer used in today's English. But it is encased in our popular culture, largely due to cowboy-and-Indian movies, where you might hear the term half-breed used to describe someone who is half-American Indian and half-something else. In the 1970s television show, Kung Fu, the main character is half-Chinese and half-Caucasian American.

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Here we say mixed ethnicity. The term mixed race, although implied, would not be used officially in a multicultural society since it might offend.

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You can use the term Eurasian for someone who is half Asian, half European.

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The term dual heritage is also used in public services to describe someone with two ethnicities.

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